MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin on Tuesday performed down U.S. media reviews of a CIA spy inside Russia’s presidential administration, calling them “pulp fiction”, however stated a low-level official who Russian media prompt was the agent had labored there earlier than being fired.
FILE PHOTO: National flags of Russia and the U.S. fly at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo
CNN reported on Monday that the United States had efficiently extracted one in all its highest-level covert sources inside Russia in 2017. The New York Times later stated the informant had despatched secrets and techniques to Washington for many years.
A supply accustomed to U.S. monitoring of Russian actions confirmed to Reuters that such a CIA informant contained in the Russian authorities did exist and that the informant had been extracted and dropped at the United States.
The supply indicated that U.S. officers had been critically involved that Kremlin officers had made public what they claimed was the person’s title.
Russian every day newspaper Kommersant stated on Tuesday the official could have been a person known as Oleg Smolenkov, who’s reported to have disappeared together with his spouse and three youngsters whereas on vacation in Montenegro in 2017 and is now reported to be dwelling in the United States.
Kommersant printed an image of a home in Virginia which it stated had been purchased by a person known as Smolenkov in 2018.
Asked in regards to the matter, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that Smolenkov had actually labored in the Russian presidential administration however had been fired in 2016/17.
“It is true that Smolenkov worked in the presidential administration, but he was fired several years ago. His job was not at a senior official level,” he stated.
Smolenkov didn’t have direct entry to President Vladimir Putin, Peskov added, declining with fun to verify whether or not he had been a U.S. agent or not.
“I can’t verify that … I don’t know whether or not he was an agent. I can solely verify that there was such an individual in the presidential administration, who was later sacked.
“All this U.S. media hypothesis about who urgently extracted who and saved who from who and so forth – that is extra the style of pulp fiction, crime studying, so let’s depart it as much as them,” stated Peskov.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated individually on Tuesday he had by no means heard of Smolenkov.
“I have never seen this man, have never met him, and have never monitored his career or movements,” Lavrov stated.
CNN reported on Monday that the U.S. choice to extract its informant had occurred quickly after a May 2017 assembly in the Oval Office in which U.S. President Donald Trump had mentioned extremely labeled intelligence with Lavrov.
Lavrov stated on Tuesday that no person had divulged any secrets and techniques to him on the assembly with Trump.
A U.S. authorities supply additionally insisted that Trump didn’t disclose secrets and techniques, such because the informant’s existence or id, at any assembly with Russian officers.
Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Andrew Osborn in Moscow and Mark Hosenball in London; Editing by Giles Elgood